‘I created a bohemian home’
Louise transformed a bland rented property into a cool, eclectic home, bursting with lush green touches
When my partner Thomas and I moved into our rented flat, the rooms were really dull and uninspiring,’ explains Louise. ‘I wanted the space to feel like a home, but we were restricted in what we could to do the property. The last tenants had painted the walls dark purple and our landlord had to paint the walls cream. After that experience, he wasn’t keen to let us decorate the space.’
Unable to use paint, I was stuck on how to make our new home feel like ‘us’. I made a big mistake by buying furniture before we moved in. At the time, I’d wanted a glam look with black furniture and silver accessories. I quickly grew to dislike that look, but I thought I was stuck with it, as we couldn’t afford to change it.
Seeds of an idea
When picking up the weekly supermarket shop, I saw a small tropical plant for £2.50 and on the spur of the moment, I bought it. I’d never had an interest in plants before but I liked the way they added personality to a corner of my home. Each week, I started to buy a different plant and soon I had a growing collection. Our flat has large windows that let in lots of natural light, and every plant seemed to thrive in here.
As I filled my home with plants, my new love of leafy greens started to influence my taste too. I noticed I was more attracted to earthy tones and palm prints. I loved the tribal, bohemian, arty look. I started to follow lots of people on Pinterest and Instagram who had a similar interior style, and I took inspiration from what they had done in their spaces.
Luck of the draw
The big change in my home design happened when I won my bedroom rug in a competition. I’d been lusting after an ethnic-style kilim rug for months but couldn’t afford the £400 price tag. It
took pride of place in my bedroom. I seemed to come into a lucky streak, and over the next three months, I won over £4,000 worth of things, including rugs, bedroom furniture, a throw, art, a stool and hangings. I started to buy lottery tickets as I couldn’t believe my luck!
These prizes were the only way I could decorate my home on my tight budget – that, and looking in charity shops, where I started to find furniture and accessories in the warm colours I liked. I picked up the wicker chair in my bedroom for just £3 and lots of my cushions on the sofa were second-hand.
I decided to start selling off all my black furniture, replacing it with a wooden wardrobe and bedside tables in a rustic finish. I wanted to introduce these earthy tones through our home so that the whole flat had a similar look throughout. Slowly, our home started to gain its own personality, filled with prints and patterns.
Our son Cooper’s room is the only space that is a little different to the rest of our house. Our landlord let us paint the wall grey and I put up a large wall sticker up. As this his first bedroom, I wanted him to feel that it was special for him.
I spent most of our decorating budget on things for his room like his cot and the wardrobe. There wasn’t much left for the rest of our home so I had to be inventive with my ideas.
During my maternity leave, I started to make things for our home. I watched lots of Youtube videos on how to make macrame hangings. I started with a
small one in my living room, then, when I realised how easy they were to make, I made one for my bedroom, too. I’ve also made pompom baskets, lampshades and upcycled furniture all from watching video tutorials online.
As we lived in a rented flat, we weren’t allowed to use nails in the walls, and it was a real struggle hanging anything up. Looking in a pound shop, I found these sticky strips that you can use to hang pictures up without damaging your walls. These were great for creating a gallery wall of palm prints and for hanging up pictures in the hallway.
Using my imagination
I’d always loved interior design but I thought living in a rented property would make it impossible to get the look I wanted. I’ve had to be inventive with
‘if you’re stuck with a particular scheme, have a regular change-up of your accessories, to vary the look’
how I decorate. I started to put my home on Instagram, posting up pictures of hangings and my cushions. I was so surprised by all the great feedback I got back from across the globe, especially about my plants!
In fact, I think I have a bit of an addiction to plants. I have more than 40 now, and I often get people asking for advice on looking after them, even though I’m still learning myself. I love the pops of green they add. I have one on every surface, and I still like to pick up new ones each week.’
BOLD & Budget ‘The long black curtains came from Ikea, and I altered them to fit the window drop. They were the cheapest option by far’
PALM PRINTS ‘I bought this palm print cushion from Primark after seeing it all over Instagram’
TASSELTASTIC ‘I made the hanging behind the bed after watching Youtube video tutorials.’
CRAFTY Corner ‘I made the tassel basket from a lampshade that I wrapped in green wool. The leather handles are an old belt’
‘This daybed is where my mum stays when she comes to visit, but when it’s not in use , it makes a handy sofa to relax on with Cooper’ GUEST room.
DARK SHADE ‘We inherited this cream suite. i added mulberry accessories from h&m’